(I’ll get back to the ice cream posts… sometime soon.)
I realised over Christmas that the first couple of months of 2022 were going to be a bit hectic with all the stuff I needed to do. As such, post-holiday I’ve got back into a strict weekday routine – running/housework/work/studying/life admin/downtime – with strict hours set for each so that nothing gets neglected. It feels a bit ‘go go go’ and so I’m sort of worried I’ll end up letting things slide (as usually happens), but I just have to keep remembering that it’s only for a couple of months. I’ll try and have a break after TechUP ends in February.
Penultimate day of Christmas and we have begun to transition back to normal in our house! We have nearly eaten up all the seasonal goodies and my TechUp course has started again after the Christmas break. However, neither Geth nor I are back at work until next Monday, so we’ve still got a bit of breathing room before total normality resumes.
Between work, studying and marathon training, I’m about to head into a fairly intense few weeks. Nevertheless, I would much rather frontload the year with all the busy stuff in January and February (and hence be distracted from the rubbish parts of winter: bonus points). It looks (at the moment!) as though things will gradually get less busy throughout the course of 2022, which is the good way round.
Just need to avoid taking on too many new projects. Easier said than done!
It’s a week where I’m not leaving the house except for running reasons (pandemic recovery has been such that I’ve not had one of those for nine weeks ?). This is a good opportunity to get things done and so far it’s going well – I got lots of day job work done today and have scheduled everything else in for the rest of the week. I even got back to my morning outdoor running after a few weeks of feeling a bit nervous and agoraphobic and over-busy and doing too many treadmill runs as a result. I didn’t have a good run (not feeling too well at the moment) but it does feel better running outside than plodding on the treadmill. I just need to build up the motivation every morning… I am definitely starting to remember why I used to have winter running slumps at this time of year. The daily run streak at least gets me moving every day.
A different reason to be busy every day this week, but at least it keeps things varied!
My course has started. It was pegged as sixteen hours a week but it actually looks like it’s going to be a bigger time commitment than that if I do everything properly! As such, I’m being strict over the next few months with my schedule so that I can fit everything in. It’s going to take a bit of work to balance everything but I’m already enjoying the course so much.
This week might mostly be illustrated by post-race pictures from yesterday. There are a lot, mostly of cake.
There have been a few too many flying posts recently – life has been pretty manic and I’ve not had much time for blogging. Things are finally starting to wind down a bit, however, and I’m looking forward to some time off.
Long run day tomorrow. Crossing everything that the pain mitigation tactics will work!
My week has been very busy, in the way that a lot of my weeks have been very busy during lockdown. Lots of day job work, lots of working on my own creative projects (writing and coding), a bit of running but not as much as is ideal due to a bad hip, quite a lot of strength training to try and fix said hip, and a lot of playtesting and competition-judging other people’s text adventures (the most fun part of my day and a good way to give back to a community that is giving me so much joy at the moment).
I’ve been working really hard recently and it’s been paying off. There have been a few developments in my editing business that I’ll talk about later in the year, I’m starting to get bits and bobs of writing published, and my text adventures are doing well and getting a good reception. I hit RED day 500 this morning – my 500th day running in a row – which is enabling me to feel like I’m still achieving things with my running even though I’m having a bad time of it with my hip and a general lack of energy at the moment.
All of this has been made possible by the pandemic allowing me to sit on my sofa all day long and get things done. I am one of the people for whom lockdown has, on the whole, been beneficial – of course I’ve had my anxious moments like everyone else, as I really don’t deal well with uncertainty, but in general I have been really, really happy having an excuse to stay home. I’ve realised more than ever that I don’t actually like leaving my house, and that it’s okay not to like leaving your house. The real anxiety I have now is adapting to the world going back to normal again. I’ve said for probably a year now that I won’t just be able to jump back into my life as it was pre-pandemic; there were a lot of things I used to do that, I have realised, caused a lot of unnecessary stress. Constantly going out to group activities and classes, gigs and races every week, travelling every other weekend… I can’t go back to all that. My personal return to normality is going to have to be very gradual, and there are a lot of things I probably never will do again.
Learning to say ‘no’, to myself as much as to anyone else, is probably going to be my biggest challenge this year. I’ve found out how important it is to feel in control of my own time. It’s a precious thing, and I’m not going to give it up.
This week’s earworm playlists:
Michael Land and Clint Bajakian – ‘Opening Credits Part #1’ Whitesnake – ‘Here I Go Again ’87’*
Patti Smith – ‘Because The Night’ Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Dee Cooke – ‘Outside Building’ Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Sailor Ain’t A Sailor’
Whitesnake – ‘Here I Go Again ’87’
Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Haul Away Joe’
Pet Shop Boys – ‘Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)’ Duran Duran – ‘Tel Aviv’
Michael Land and Clint Bajakian – ‘Crete’ Duran Duran – ‘Save A Prayer’ Talking Heads – ‘Once In A Lifetime’ Ed Sheeran – ‘Lego House’
I found myself burning out a bit this week. The last couple of months have been very productive but also a bit manic, and I’ve realised I need a bit of a break, so I’ve pared down a few of my activities. I log daily or weekly streaks for just about everything I do, because I find it’s the only way I can keep up with things – I’m very obsessional about my hobbies but also very fickle, so I’ll spend a few weeks obsessed with playing videogames and then a few weeks obsessed with making games instead and then a few weeks where running is my main passion… Maintaining daily streaks such as my run streak is the best way I’ve found to make sure that hobbies don’t get neglected during times when they’re not my main ‘thing’. However, when I have a lot of these streaks going, they become overwhelming and take over my life. As such, sometimes I have to decide to let go of some of them, and that can be really hard when I’ve put so much effort into keeping the streak going for so long.
This week I had to quit the Fetchpoint game again. The game involves going out every day and collecting tokens, including a red bug token that appears daily in your local circle and needs to be collected and taken out of the circle in order to be ‘squished’. You get bonus points for a bug-free circle at the end of the day and minus points if there are any bugs remaining. If you squish your bug for thirty days in a row, you get a badge. I have been chasing this badge for a long time and very nearly had it in September – unfortunately, after I ran the Virtual GNR, I felt too ill to collect my bug for that day and so the attempt came to an end. I started playing again in March to make a fresh attempt, but other areas of life have meant that some days I just don’t have time for the two-hour walk that a bug hunt often requires. It’s been a frustrating experience, and so I’ve given up again for the time being. Hopefully there’ll be a time in the summer or autumn when things are a bit quieter.
I’m looking forward to a quiet bank holiday weekend. A bit of running and walking, but mainly just sitting on my sofa with my game code 🙂
This week’s earworm playlists:
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’ Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’ MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’
And a bonus track that Geth was humming that day:
Michael Land – ‘Phatt Island Waterfall’
Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’ Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé – ‘Barcelona’ Public Image Ltd. – ‘Rise’ Levellers – ‘Julie’
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’ Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’ MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’ Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’ Princess Superstar and The High & Mighty – ‘Bad Babysitter’
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’ Pride & Fall – ‘December’ Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
Michael Land – ‘The Barbery Coast’
Cole Porter – ‘Anything Goes’ Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
It’s not been a bad week. The only thing slowing me down has been an ear infection that I picked up last week (god knows where from given that I never see anyone at the moment!). Following a phone appointment with the doctor, I’ve managed to get some antibiotics, but so far I’ve been up and down with them – hoping it settles down over the weekend. I’ve also been feeling a bit stiff and achy again, so there’s been a fair few evening yoga sessions over the last few days!
Work-wise I’ve been trying to do focused days this week rather than trying to do a small amount of ten different things every day. I feel like it works a bit better when I can just sit down and concentrate on one thing for most of the day rather than chopping and changing and trying to squeeze everything in.
I managed a day off on Wednesday, which was great, as I wanted a bit of time to sit down and play videogames (I’ve not had the energy for it in the last couple of weeks, which is usually a bad sign). Wednesday is a good day to take off if necessary, as it’s the weekday when I’m least likely to have urgent work from clients.
I’m playing the Fetchpoint game on Fetch Everyone again, which is kind of like virtual geocaching and involves collecting lots of invisible tokens around my local area. This is getting me out walking more often (and helping to vary my running routes), which is a good thing as we move into spring.
I’m mostly concentrating on the Adventuron jam this month, but in April I’m hoping to have a bit of time to work on my business website – I’m going to be changing a lot of terms soon and need to revamp the site accordingly.
A big week of game-creating ahead as we’re reaching the final push of the current jam. Fingers crossed I can carve out lots of time to get it finished!
This week’s earworm playlists:
Simply Red – ‘Money’s Too Tight To Mention’ Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
John Newman – ‘Love Me Again’ The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’ Frankie Miller – ‘Caledonia’ Girls Aloud – ‘Sound Of The Underground’ Matthew Wilder – ‘Break My Stride’
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton – ‘Islands In The Stream’ Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’ Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
Kanye West – ‘Stronger’ Muse – ‘Feeling Good’ UB40 – ‘If It Happens Again’
Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’ Cheryl – ‘Call My Name’
Bros – ‘I Owe You Nothing’ Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – ‘Human’ Let Loose – ‘Crazy For You’ Demi Lovato – ‘Heart Attack’
Revo – ‘Halcyonia’ Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’ J Balvin and Willy William – ‘Mi Gente’
On the whole, my recent time-scheduling experiments have been fairly successful, in the sense that the main aim was to ensure that I get everything done during the day so I can relax in the evenings. I have managed to do that over the last couple of months, and I feel a lot better in that sense. However, I’m not 100% happy with the way my scheduled days are panning out; I always feel like I’m rushing from one job to the next, and like I’m half-arsing everything I do as a result. In my world, half-arsing something means failing at it, so I’ve not felt great about a lot of the stuff I’m doing in recent weeks.
As such, I’m going to be rethinking things over the weekend, and planning out dedicated days for tasks rather than ten minutes here and there. I expect this is something I’m going to have to keep working on and tweaking indefinitely. Too many commitments, not enough time!
This week’s earworm playlists:
Mark Snow – ‘The X-Files (Main Theme)’ Howard Jones – ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’ Status Quo – ‘In The Army Now’
Revo – ‘Savalon’ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’
Cher – ‘I Found Someone’ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’ Howard Jones – ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’
Bros – ‘When Will I Be Famous?’ Lindisfarne – ‘Lady Eleanor’ Pretenders – ‘Brass In Pocket’
Howard Jones – ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’ The Smiths – ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’ Charlene – ‘I’ve Never Been To Me’
The Smiths – ‘Panic’ Pet Shop Boys – What Are We Going To Do About The Rich?’
The Beatles – ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ UB40 – ‘If It Happens Again’ Kirsty MacColl – ‘Days’
I was still coasting along with an ‘age doesn’t matter’ attitude, and generally feeling like I was still young and pretty much at the start of my life and there was still plenty of time to achieve all my planned achievements.
Being thirty-six feels different, and I’m not sure why.
Perhaps it’s just that multiple things have hit me in a slightly alarming way recently. First of all, I did a fairly major accounting exercise for my business in January and realised that I can’t just blame the recent slump in takings on COVID-19 (though of course the pandemic has been a factor): it started way before that. I’ve known for some time now that my editing business is not viable by itself as my long-term career. I either need to build up something else on the side (I hoped writing would play this role, but I’m still not making any money from my writing projects) or retrain so that I can move full-time into something else. I had two academic options planned out for retraining at the beginning of 2020, but the pandemic put them on hold. If life had continued as normal, I would have been a lot further ahead with those options right now, and so I really feel at the moment as though I’m paused (not by choice) in my career, and that a considerable amount of time is being wasted while I wait for the world to restart. I’m sure lots of other people are in a similar position.
Secondly, I’ve been struggling with the loud, insistent tick of the biological clock in recent weeks. I have always known that motherhood would not be right for me or my life, and so I have never planned (and still do not plan) to have children. Still, however logical and sound my 1,001 reasons for staying childfree are, there are times when I feel them drowning under the weight of worries like ‘thirty-six is VERY close to forty; you are running out of time to change your mind’ and ‘who is going to inherit your legacy, your family heirlooms and your videogame collection?’ and ‘don’t you WANT to experience this unconditional love that everyone talks about?’ and ‘your husband is a few years older than you and you are bad at maintaining friendships due to your introversion; you will quite likely spend the last few years of your life alone and unloved’. I will stick to my plan because I know it’s the right thing to do, but the feelings are hard sometimes.
Accepting the things you can’t change is the sensible and obvious thing to do in life. It’s also really hard work. There are a lot of things I wish were different – a lot of things that I was sure I would have managed to achieve by now – and I constantly feel like I’ve let my past younger self down, and that I’m also letting my future older self down by continuing to fail to achieve stuff (or stuff that was on the ‘list’ anyway… I know there’s a lot of unplanned stuff I can be proud of from over the last few years!), and generally being a bit mediocre.
But the life I have now is the life I have now, and I’m not superhuman (even though the mind demons tell me that I COULD be if I just tried a bit harder), and I know I’m doing my best at the moment, and the fact that I didn’t do my best in the past is something that can’t be changed.
Thirty-six is still not sitting right with me, and I’m not sure when it will. But I can’t go backwards, so here we are.
This week has been quite busy and difficult at work, which hasn’t helped. I’m hoping to be able to squeeze in an extra afternoon off on Monday to make it a bit of a long weekend, but we’ll have to see what happens over the next few days.
I’m very nearly at the end of Bravely Second and should finish it over the weekend. I’ve then got the demo of the newly-announced Switch game Project Triangle Strategy to enjoy before Bravely Default II arrives next week!
Running has been short and gentle this week as I’ve been resting a hip/glute twinge. However, my comfortable run speed has increased over the last couple of days, which usually indicates that my legs are up for a nice fast 5k at the weekend. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I’m also hoping to do a long run on Sunday (maybe eight to ten miles?), though the pace for that will be very sedate indeed as I’ve not done anything over six miles for months and months.
Crossing my fingers for a really quiet week next week! I’ve got various coding things I want to get finished/started, so hopefully I’ll have good news on that front next Friday.
This week’s earworm playlists:
Backstreet Boys – ‘As Long As You Love Me’ The Drifters – ‘Under The Boardwalk’ Will Powers – ‘Kissing With Confidence’
Revo – ‘Sylvan Tranquility’ Ray Charles – ‘Hit The Road, Jack’
Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’ will.i.am and Cody Wise – ‘It’s My Birthday’ The Black Eyed Peas – ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
Canned Heat – ‘On The Road Again’ Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip – ‘I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper’ The Power Station – ‘Some Like It Hot’ Taylor Swift – ’22’
Judy Garland and Lucille Bremer – ‘Meet Me In St Louis’ Tom Lehrer – ‘Christmas Carol’
Ewan MacColl – ‘Dirty Old Town’ Fontella Bass – ‘Rescue Me’ Coldplay – ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ The Wonder Stuff – ‘A Wish Away’
Mike Hewer – ‘Snowman Party’ Queen – ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’